Saturday, 14 January 2012

Coverscaping - Discovering Album Aesthetics

Notes from Coverscaping - Discovering Album Aesthetics probably one of the first Academic collection of essays written about Album Covers semiotics and poetics. Considers Album Covers are a visual genre in their own right.
Functions of an album cover

1.Inescapably ' product of the record companies desire to promote their music' p10
2.Conveying the identity of the artist
3.Distilling the aesthetic reality of a specific cultural moment
4. Discusses Genette's literary concept 'paratext'  
Genette defines paratext as those things in a published work that accompany the text, things such as the author's name, the title, preface or introduction, or illustrations. Genette states "More than a boundary or a sealed border, the paratext is, rather, a threshold." It is "a zone between text and off-text, a zone not only of transition but also of transaction: a privileged place of pragmatics and a strategy, of an influence on the public, an influence that ... is at the service of a better reception for the text and a more pertinent reading of it". Then quoting Philippe Lejeune, Genette further describes paratext as "a fringe of the printed text which in reality controls one's whole reading of the text".
5 Ekphrasis has been considered generally to be a rhetorical device in which one medium of art tries to relate to another medium by defining and describing its essence and form, and in doing so, relate more directly to the audience, through its illuminative liveliness

6 Greendale by Neil Young is discussed by Nicole Brown in context of Lunenfield's utopian idea of the gesamtkunstwerk or "total work of art," a term traditionally applied to opera's melding of music, lyrics, acting, and stagecraft to create an enhanced vision of creation, reception, and meaning.
7. Galperin suggests the digitalization of music has meant that the power over the music and image is increasedingly reallocated from the media corps to the performers,artists and their audiences.
8. Considering born in the USA by Bruce Spingsteen, Sheehy presents arguments for the importance of rock and roll to our understanding of our broader visual culture and in this case , our political culture as well. P24
9. Context of music and imagery in Politics can be demonstrated by te fact although Born in the USA was released in 1984 an election year the US flag on the album cover was coincidental...Politicians and pundits appropriated Springsteen and his us imagery. The Reagan campaign invited Springsteen to join Reagan at a Campaign. To which Springsteen replied 'I dont think the President listened to my Nebraska album'p27
10. The song Born in the USA 'Spingteen did not intend the song as an anthem of unexamined patriotism but as a critique of the nation's treatment of Vietnam vets.
11.  Nicola R Brown 'Album covers are historical artifacts: the images and titles sponsored by artists simultaneously document and create social and historical contexts' ps 43
12.Greendale by Neil Young is discussed in terms of how it represents the visual genres of albums shifting alongside access to new technologies/media.P55 Link to the Greendale website
13. Anne Galperin

To be continued...

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